I've always been a little behind with playing the Pokémon games. I just couldn't afford some of them until much later, let alone, wouldn't be able to play them unless I had the right system anyway.
It's wasn't until the release of Black and White that I was able to get my very own Nintendo DS. A friend had been lending me hers when I had purchased Platinum and SoulSilver to play several months back, so needless to say I was pretty excited to finally have the chance to play through future games at my own pace, without needing to stop at strange intervals.
To celebrate, I figured I could spoil myself a little more and pick up a copy of Pokémon Black. I had been watching my friend play Pokémon White for the past few weeks now and had been itching to start my own Unova adventure. I stopped by a local Gamestop to see if they had any used versions of the game. I knew it was a bit of a long shot since Black and White had been released earlier in the month and probably wouldn't be on the used shelves yet, but I remained hopeful. Used games tend to be a tad bit cheaper and I could really do with saving a couple extra bucks.
Thankfully, luck seemed to be on my side that day as I spied a lone copy of Pokemon Black in the used section and excitedly scooped it up. I left the store acting like a giddy grade schooler ( though slightly disappointed due to the fact that I couldn't afford the additional warranty with the game) and rushed on home to start playing.
I spent the next couple of weeks playing Pokémon Black, relying on website walkthroughs to figure out where I should go and what Pokémon I could catch in each area. I had developed a pretty strong team by the end of the main story arc consisting of Serperior, Zebstrika, Simipour, Chandelure, Audino and Reshiram. I loved the legendary dragons in this game, so immediately after I finished my final battle with N and such, I promptly got myself a Zekrom through the GTS and a Japanese one at that to boot!
However, there was one Pokemon I wanted the most in this game: Kyurem. I had fallen in love with Kyurem since I first saw its design on Bulbapedia about a year back. It had made me a little sad that I couldn't get him until I was done the main storyline. Though, after reading that you encounter him at level 75, the wait was probably well worth it especially with the randomly high-levelled trainers who appear after the main story arc.
After exploring a few other features that unlocked after beating the main game, I took my team and went hunting for Kyurem. After arriving in the village which spoke about a "monster" that lives in the Giant Chasm, it took me a little while to figure out where to go in order to reach Kyurem's lair. Finally, I came across the boulder I needed to move to get into the area and excitedly ventured into the Chasm, fainting a couple of opponents with my Reshiram and catching a much-needed Ditto along the way.
It wasn't long before I reached the point where you hear Kyurem cry and the area turns into a snow-filled wasteland. I got a little lost while trying to find the cave that would lead me to the Pokémon, but I eventually found it and hurriedly made my way inside.
This is when things started to get a little weird.
According to what I read online, I should have emerged into a cavern where Kyurem would be waiting for me to interact with it at the end. Instead, I ended up inside some sort of of a tunnel which made a sharp turn to the left. Perplexed, I figured that perhaps the information I had read for encountering Kyurem was incorrect, or was at least partially relayed by the websites, so I decided to follow the tunnel anyway. I was surprised to find that no wild Pokemon appeared as I continued into the area, but gathered that was just a part of the game play at this point.
After the sharp left turn, the tunnel straightened out and writings on the wall (much like what you would see in the underwater ruins, only on a brown background) began to appear every twenty paces or so. After interacting with one of them, I noticed that these writings were readable and were telling the story of Kyurem in dialogue boxes. Backtracking, I learned that this story was told by one of the villagers who was kidnapped by Kyurem years ago, though the tale was a little different from what I had heard in the village earlier.
According to the first four walls, Kyurem was supposedly the original body of Reshiram and Zekrom before the dragon split in two. The remaining husk travelled to the farthest reach of Unova it could find before finding solace in the underground where it was supposed to sleep for eternity. However, when the icy meteorite fell to Earth, it crashed into the area where Kyurem dwelled and stirred the Pokémon from its slumber. Kyurem, enraged and blood-thirsty, began stalking the shadows at night, snatching anyone and anything that drew near, dragging them into its lair where it would later feast on them to try and cure its insatiable hunger. Apparently Kyurem was trying to make itself whole again and needed the flesh of the living in order to do so.
I saved the game after I read these this just in case I would run into Kyurem shortly after this point. The story had chilled me though, and I wondered why something so morbid was in a Pokémon game in the first place. Then again, I knew that the legends of Sinnoh in Platinum were pretty freaky and the fact that Black and White is also geared towards older audiences anyway, so I thought nothing more of Kyurem's story. I then noticed that there were three more walls with writing as I continued, but upon reading those, a different message came to light. In order, the three walls said: "Get out," "Don't venture further," "Death awaits those who refuse to turn back now."
Again, I saved the game after each of these walls, both nervous and excited because I knew I was getting that much closer to finding Kyurem. However, about twenty paces after the final wall, the screen went black and the sound of a descending staircase like the one you would hear in the older Pokémon games was heard. Then, a dialogue box appeared.
"The dead never sleep...
Kyurem wants to be whole again."
The battle music then started up and Kyurem appeared (which was odd, because one, you are not supposed to encounter Kyurem in this fashion and two, the screen didn't even flash after the battle music started). I watched the animations as my character sent out Reshiram who was first Pokémon in my party.
By this point, I suspected that the used game that I had bought was hacked, much like the ones I had read about on the internet for years. I was a little disappointed that I didn't have an original copy of the game, but proceeded into the battle with Kyurem anyway seeing as I had wanted the Pokémon and that only this section of the game appeared to be hacked.
Not wanting to use my Master Ball unless it was a last resort, I went into my Reshiram's attacks and selected Fusion Flare to do some much-needed damage to the higher level opponent. Kyurem's speed must have been higher than my own, however, seeing as it moved first with Sheer Cold and,unfortunately, hit me with the attack, causing Reshiram to faint in the one turn.
No matter, I figured, I had five other Pokémon who could weaken Kyurem just as well, but when the bottom screen changed for me to call out my next Pokémon, I couldn't help but gape in disbelief.
The other five Pokémon I had with me initially, had vanished. There was only one other Pokémon in my party that I could use, and that was the Japanese Zekrom I had gotten from the GTS earlier. Confused and a little peeved after it dawned on me that this might have been part of the hack, I sent out Zekrom and selected the move Dragon Claw from its set. Just like before, Kyurem moved first and used Sheer Cold, which inconceivably hit my Pokémon once more.
After Zekrom fainted, I placed my finger on the power button, ready to turn the system off. I was furious. I assumed that the hack was designed to make Kyurem uncatchable and that I was the one unlucky person who had fallen for its devious trick. My plan from here was to reset the game, backtrack to the main entrance and fly to a nearby town so I could later trade a Kyurem from my friend and get it through the GTS instead. However, just before I was about to flip the power switch on my DS, the two screens faded to black and the option for choosing a Pokémon substitution appeared again on the bottom screen.
Much to my surprise, the Pokémon opted to substitute were my already fainted Reshiram and Zekrom. Their health bars were completely full again, but instead of the normal green colouration which would indicate high health, it was red. Baffled, curiosity got the better of me and I selected Reshiram to send out to see what would happen.
I really wish I had just shut off the game when I had the chance.
The top screen faded back into the battle as Reshiram was sent out once more, but something was wrong. Reshiram looked different. It's sprite looked all mangled and bloodied: The closest part of Reshiram's face toward the screen looked as though it was peeled away, exposing the skull underneath. Its eyes were a deathly red instead of its normal blue, which were accented by the sinking black sockets surrounding them and it's ribcage seemed to be showing. Additionally, Reshiram's wing on the furthest side of the screen seemed to be broken and shredded, making the Pokémon look freakishly unbalanced as it moved in its slowest animation as though its health was at a critical level along with the alarming beeping sound that accompanied it. What really set me off though was the sound of it's cry. It was long, distorted and droning, and crackled a little midway through. I felt sick. The current state of my Reshiram made it remarkably difficult for me to look at it further, so I turned my attention to Kyurem instead so that I wouldn't double over in illness.
But as I looked at Kyurem, I noticed it had changed too. Unlike my Reshiram however, Kyurem didn't look disfigured, but "healthier" rather, for lack of a better way to describe it. It's wrinkled skin appeared to be a lot smoother and it's stance was more upright than it was supposed to be normally. Studying its form further, I then noticed something that sent chills through my body. Though the colouration of Kyurem appeared to be normal, it's hind feet and tail had changed in appearance and looked remarkably similar to those in Reshiram's design.
Fear gripped me. It was almost as if Kyurem had absorbed parts of Reshiram into itself in an attempt to be "whole" again much like what the story from the walls was saying. I shook my head, feeling stupid for even humouring the notion. This was just some sort of sick hack... right?
Before I could do anything else, a dialogue box suddenly appeared.
"Kyurem wants to be whole again..."
The animation for Reshiram hurting itself played and its health dropped significantly until it only had one remaining hit point.
Another dialogue box.
"Reshiram hurt itself ..."
Then, the long, distorted cry of Reshiram sounded again as it's last remaining bit of health vanished while the fainting animation played.
Again, the two screens faded to black and the Pokémon substitution prompt came up on the bottom screen. I noticed that Reshiram had completely disappeared now and that Zekrom was the only Pokémon left in my party. It's health bar was still full and red. I was terrified. What kind of hack was this!? I sat there, staring at the prompt screen, struggling between my own perverse curiosity to continue and desire to just shut off the DS. After about five minutes, I selected Zekrom to send out.
Just like before, the top screen slowly faded back into the battle as Zekrom made its appearance. Like Reshiram beforehand, it too looked bloodied and mangled, but on the opposite side. The only difference, however, was that Zekrom's closest arm to the screen appeared to have been stripped down to the bone and its sunken eyes were a sickly yellow rather than red. It had the same slow looping animation, accompanied by the beeping critical health sound. Its cry also mimicked the likes of Reshiram's before: long, droning and crackling.
I looked at Kyurem again, though now it looked almost nothing like the Pokémon I had come to adore. Apart from it's identifying colours, Kyurem now looked completely smooth and stood upright. Its forelimbs and wings looked like Zekrom's and its back feet and tail still mirrored Reshiram. Its face looked like a strange combination of both Pokémon, though it still had Kyurem's characteristic crown.
I braced myself for whatever was going to happen next. Sure enough, the same dialogue box appeared as it did before.
"Kyurem wants to be whole again..."
Like Reshiram before it, Zekrom damaged itself to its last remaining bit of health, released its distorted cry and fainted.
"Zekrom hurt itself ..."
Tears were streaming down my face at this point out of sheer terror. As much as I wanted to, I couldn't pull my eyes away from the screen. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. It just didn't seem real. I had to keep telling myself this a sick joke in order to keep my sanity. Still, I waited to see if there was more.
The bottom screen faded away and now it was just me and Kyurem. No Pokémon, no nothing. I couldn't even access my bag to use my Master Ball and catch the creature to see if it would end this horror. Then, a new dialogue box popped up.
"Kyurem is whole again. Do you want to add this Pokémon to your party?"
The options for YES and NO appeared.
I was trembling. I didn't want this thing in my party. This thing wasn't even Kyurem! This was some sort of monster who devoured my Pokémon to take on their appearance for itself. I squeezed my eyes shut for a second as I selected the option of 'NO.'
Everything stopped. The strange image of Kyurem stopped looping its animation and the music went silent. I couldn't even prompt anything by pressing buttons.
I would have considered the game frozen if it weren't for the dialogue box which appeared a few seconds later.
".... ... ... .... ... .... ... .... ... ... .... .... ... ... ... ....
... ... ... .... ... .... ... .... ... ... .... .... ... ... ... ....
... ... ... .... ... .... ... .... ... ... .... ...
I see... That's too bad..."
Suddenly Kyurem's figure distorted and turned itself to face the screen. Its mouth opened in a gaping roar which sounded like Kyurem, Reshiram and Zekrom combined as it lunged toward me much like Giratina does when it first shows up in Platinum. The sound blasted so loudly out of my DS speakers that I screamed and dropped the game system in startled surprise, backing away from it as I did.
I sat, huddled on the couch, staring at the game console as though it was possessed. Then I noticed the familiar sound of the start-up screen as it began to play through. Hesitantly, I reached for my game and pressed start, bringing myself the opening menu.
My game had been erased. The option of 'NEW GAME' appeared where my file was supposed to be. Not wanting to deal with my hacked Black version anymore, I shut my DS off and tossed it to the side where I left it alone for the rest of the day.
I haven't touched my Pokémon Black since that day. My friend had tried to coax me into playing it again, but I just can't bring myself to place the card in my DS. I actively avoid watching or battling players if they have Reshiram, Zekrom or Kyurem on their team. The images of those Pokémon remind me too much of what I saw.
Those who have listened to my story have asked if they could take the game off of my hands so they can see what had happened for themselves. I refuse to let them. This hacked game will be my curse to bear alone for all time. The images are just too horrible to share.
Needless to say, I never bought a used game ever again.